When it comes to feeding your cat, ants can be more than just a nuance.
They will target and steal your cat’s food.
Ants can also make your cat refuse to eat their food.
Cats would generally refuse to eat food filled with crawling ants.
So how do you keep ants from attacking your cat’s food?
In this article, we’ll go over the different ways you can keep your cat’s meal safe from ants.
1. Use Plastic Storage Bins to Store Food
Place dry cat food in airtight containers to minimize their scent and prevent ants from getting access to them.
For this, I recommend either using a glass container.
Unlike plastic containers, they are non-porous.
As such, glass containers won’t absorb rancid oils and don’t leach toxic chemicals when in contact with pet food.
If you prefer to use plastic containers, I recommend using high-density polyethylene, or HDPE, for your container.
HDPE is a type of plastic known to be safe for humans and pets.
It’s also BPA-free and BPS-free.
Another thing you can do is to keep your cat food in its original bag with the top of the bag folded and place it inside a plastic container.
Place the container in a cool, dry area of your home.
While plastic is generally durable, it can break down when exposed to high temperatures over an extended period.
If you have canned or moist food, do not leave it out.
To keep ants away, cover uneaten or open moist food should and place it in your fridge.
Also, placing uneaten, opened can food will keep them fresh and prevent foodborne illness from bacteria.
2. Use an Ant proof Cat Bowl
Ants proof cat bowls are specially designed to keep ants out.
This is done in a variety of ways.
One of the most common ways is by creating a water barrier around the bowl.
This will prevent ants from being able to reach your cat’s food while also allowing your cat to eat.
Another method is a moat or double lip feature. This type of ant proof cat bowl creates a small gap before ants can reach the food that causes them to get trapped or fall out at the bottom.
These are the two primary methods used to create cat proof food bowls.
3. Create a Barrier Around the Bowl with Chalk
One way to keep ants off your cat’s bowl is by using a chalk barrier.
Draw a ring of chalk a few inches away from your cat’s bowl to keep ants away.
Using a regular chalkboard or sidewalk chalk should do.
Both types of chalk have calcium carbonate, which keeps ants away.
If you draw a thick line around your bowl, the chalks’ fine powder could disrupt the scent of pheromones that ants follow to find food.
Once the ants hit the chalk line, they will lose the scent trail left by worker ants.
A chalk barrier works best when fresh and drawn thick.
The thickness will ensure that the barrier will last and work well at blocking an existing or potential ant trail.
Keep in mind, the chalk won’t last. Eventually, the barrier will slowly be erased and get thinner.
To keep the chalk working, make sure to redraw the line regularly.
4. Petroleum Jelly
A line of petroleum jelly is another way you can create a barrier between your cat’s food and ants.
The concept behind here is quite simple.
One of two things will happen if ants try to cross the petroleum jelly.
They will slide off and not be able to climb.
They will get stuck in the petroleum jelly.
Remember to re-apply to make sure that it stays as effective as possible.
5. Use Essential Oils
Essential oils such as peppermint, cinnamon oil, citrus oil, mint, and tea tree oil help keep ants away from pet food.
For example, mint oil is highly repellent against ants, even with concentrations as low as 0.01%.
Cinnamon oil is also highly effective against ants. Not only does it repell ants but 40% of ants died after 30 minutes of exposure to the fumes of 2% cinnamon oil.
You can use essential oil by applying five drops on cotton balls and placing them around in areas where you store your pet food.
Make sure to replace the cotton balls every few days to keep them effective.
Another way you can use an essential oil is by mixing tend drops with 1/2 cup of water and 1/2 cup of vinegar in a spray bottle.
Shake the bottle well to distribute the oil properly.
Once ready, spray around the area where you store your pet food.
6. Create a Moat Around Your Cat's Food Dish
Building a moat around your cat food bowl is a quick, cheap, and effective way to keep ants away.
The water will prevent ants from leaving scent trails behind for other ants to follow.
Also, while ants can float, most species cannot swim.
They wouldn’t swim across the water to get food and swim back to bring it back to their nest.
To create a moat, you can place your cat bowl on a larger bowl that can hold water.
Fill the outer bowl with water, and you’re all set!
You can also create a moat using a cheap baking dish.
The baking dish should be enough since the water doesn’t have to be deep to prevent the ants from swimming across it.
Once you’ve filled the baking dish with water, place your cat bowl in the middle. This moat should be sufficient to keep ants from attacking your cat’s food.
7. Clean Up
The first step into keeping ants away from your cat’s food is cleaning up the area around it.
You can attract ants with the smallest crumbs and food residue you or your pets leave on the floor.
So, one of the best things you can do to keep ants away from your cat food is cleaning up right after your cat eats.
Wipe and vacuum the area where your cat eats. Doing so will remove any crumbs and food residue that the ants can feed on.
Clean and store food and water bowls properly when they are not eating.
Remember to use pet-safe dish soap to protect your cat from harmful soap chemicals.
8. Move the bowl
One way to keep ants away from your cat’s food is to move it to a different place.
When ants find food, they leave a scent trail, known as pheromones, for other ants to follow.
By moving the location where you store your cat’s food or feed your cat, you’ll prevent ants from finding it.
9. Black pepper and Cayenne pepper
Black pepper and cayenne pepper repel ants.
As such, you can use them to keep ants away from your cat’s food.
To do this, you can sprinkle some pepper around the food to create a barrier and stop the ants from accessing it.
Another thing you can do is to create a pepper solution. Mix some pepper with water and spray the solution around your cat’s food.
10. Food-Grade Diatomaceous Earth
Diatomaceous earth kills ants by destroying their exoskeletons and causing them to dehydrate.
While DE is just like any other powder to humans and pest,
to insects, they feel razor-sharp.
DE will not keep ants away from your cat food, but it will kill the ant colony attacking it.
While DE does not repell bed bugs with a specific smell or scent, you can repel them by creating a large mount around your bowl.
Most ants will avoid large piles of DE to avoid taking the most difficult for them to protest.
How to Get Ants Out of Cat Food?
If ant’s get into your cat food and you don’t want to throw it away, don’t worry. It’s not too late.
Here’s what you can do to remove ants from your cat food.
- Transfer the cat food in a large container.
- Sprinkle some corn starch on the cat food. The corn starch will detach the ants from the food. Any corn starch residue will not harm your cat.
- Toss the bin to mix the cornstarch with the cat food.
- Once the cat food is thoroughly coated with the corn starch, transfer the cat food on a strainer, and toss it.
- Remove any ants that’s stuck on the food with a dry paintbrush.
- Place the clean batch of cat food back in a clean container.
What Is The Best Way To Get Rid Of Ants In The House?
The best way to get rid of ants in and around your house is by eliminating all food and water sources around your home.
The less food and water there is for ants in your home, the less likely they will stay in your home.
You’ll also want to use ant baits.
Instant ant spray killers are ineffective at eliminating an ant colony.
The best option is to use smaller bait stations or gel bait syringes.
I prefer syringes because they are easy to apply to hard to reach locations.
They are also easy to clean up once the ants have started eating the bait.
Gel bait syringes are also a bit easier to track because you can easily see the amount of bait that ants consume.
Place indoor bait anywhere you spotted ant trails during the inspection.
Other ideal locations are:
- Under appliances
- Small cracks and crevices
- Cabinet door hinges
- Windows or door sills
- Along walls or cabinets, guides, and baseboards.
- Near sources of water
- Near ant trails
I recommend applying small daps onto 2×2 inch pieces of wax paper.
Doing so will make it easy to keep track of the bait and clean up any gel bait you apply.
What is the Best Way To Prevent Ants?
We’ve all heard the maxim: prevention is better than cure. And when it comes to ants, this is undoubtedly true.
Here are some of the best tips and strategies to stop ants from invading your home:
One of the most natural things you can do to keep ants out of your house is cleaning up any food or water sources.
Be sure to clean up food preparation areas to ensure there are no potential food sources for ants.
Wipe down your counters with a cleaning agent is a great way to remove ant trail pheromones.
Clean anywhere you recently saw an ant trail to make sure they can’t use it again.
I also recommend cleaning underneath appliances where food tends to accumulate, such as the refrigerator, microwave, and stove.
It is also vital that you store food properly in airtight containers or bags, including dog food.
If you have pets, clean and store food and water bowls properly when they are not eating.
Indoor plants can also attract ants. Some of these plants are home to aphids that produce honeydew.
Indoor plants can also be home to small insects that ants feed on.
Ants need water to survive.
If there are no food sources but there is an abundance of water ants will still enter your home.
This is particularly true when the soil outside is dry and they need to find additional sources of water.
Make sure you address any excess moisture issues both inside and outside of your house.
This includes leaking pipes or faucets.
Standing water or over-watering of plants and grass outdoors.
Seal Up Entry Points
The second way to keep ants out of your house is to seal up any entry points.
The harder it is for ants to get in, the less likely they will try and enter your home.
The best way to do this is to seal up any cracks, holes, and crevices around your home using caulk.
Some common places to look outside are:
- Cracks in foundation
- Holes or cracks on walls
- Door or Window Sills
- Under or around windows and doors.
- Pipes or Wires that penetrate walls.
Common places to look indoors include:
- Cracks on walls
- Around windows and doors
- foundation or edges walls
- under sinks where there are pipes
- electrical sockets
It is also a good idea to apply a dust insecticide into these crevices before sealing them up.
This will allow you to kill any ants hiding inside these voids and give them no way of getting out.